Ransomware is making headlines throughout the nation. This type of 'badware' is rendering businesses and organizations 'out of business' unless they can restore their computer systems or pay thousands of dollars in ransom to get their valuable data restore. Here is a quick guide about this ever-evolving threat and how you can protect your computer system. About Ransomeware
Lock out Cryptolocker
The newest iteration of CryptoLocker is out, but you can easily protect yourself if you read along and know what to look for. CryptoLocker is a virus that literally locks your personal files such as Word, Excel, Pictures, etc. The virus is capable of encrypting (locking) files on your company's server and other computers around it. The files are locked with what is called an encrypted key, and only that key can unlock the files. The virus then gives you instructions on how to pay them and receive the key for your files (maybe.) The good news is that this iteration of CryptoLocker is very easily avoided. The one we are seeing comes in an email, the sender can be anyone and the subject could be anything, but the attachment is always a Word file. Some examples we have seen are emails posing as resumes or other important documents. The way to protect yourself is simple, do not double click or try to open the Word file. Delete the email and if you are in doubt, contact AlphaLink and we will tell you if it is legitimate or not. If, for some reason you did open the Word file, you are not yet infected. You will be presented with a button at the top of the word document that says "Enable Macros." Close out of the file now and protect yourself. The only way to actually get infected from this version of CryptoLocker virus would be to click "Enable Macros", then a message box will warn you that malicious code may be in the file, are you sure you want to enable? Click yes here to for sure give yourself the CryptoLocker virus, and this can infect your entire business if left unchecked.
Scam Alert: Calls from Microsoft
Our owner, Karla Carson, received a call at her home from "William from Windows Services Center on behalf of Microsoft". William (with a heavy foreign accent) said he needed to connect to Karla's computer to fix some errors that they were receiving from her computer. Karla kept him on the phone and requested a location and phone number. This is likely fake information, but it was reported to the police. Please note, Microsoft will NOT initiate calls to fix your computer, EVER! This is a scam and should be treated as such. If you can try to get a phone number or some other identifying information, please pass the date, time and info to your local police department.
The Heart Bleed vulnerability affects many popular web services, including Yahoo mail/cloud, Gmail, Dropbox, and the Healthcare.gov site. It is best to change your passwords on these sites and refrain from using the same password on every account you have (especially financial sites). AlphaLink has checked our services and we do not use the platform that is involved in this recent internet security threat. The following blog from Malwarebytes explains the threat: Malwarebyte Blog About HeartBleed Mashable provides a list of web services that are possibly affected: Mashable provides a list of web services that are possibly affected: Heartbeleed Hit List